Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

Member of the month

Architect Theoharis David was awarded the 2009 Prize in Architecture from the Cyprus Architects Association during a ceremony in Cyprus on December 5, 2009. This prize is awarded annually to an individual who has had a notable impact upon the world of architecture in Cyprus and internationally.

 

Theoharis David was born and raised in the United States of Cypriot immigrant parents from the town of Morphou. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute, and after serving in the U.S. Army as a musician, went on to graduate studies at Yale University, where he studied directly under the modernist master Paul Rudolph graduating with a Master of Architecture degree. After gaining work experience in New York, he took the advice of Paul Rudolph his mentor and teacher to “go where you can build” and went in 1967 as a young man to the recently independent Republic of Cyprus. After a brief period with the office of the late Costas Vafeades in Nicosia, he joined the firm of J&A Phillipou as design architect. There he was entrusted with the design of a number of significant projects including the PIO Government Offices, The Aspelia Hotel and radical Ayia Triada Church in Famagusta, through which he enjoyed a working relationship with the client the legendary President and Archbishop Makarios III, the Zena Gunther Building in Nicosia, and the original design of the Makarios Stadium whose completion was cut short as a result of the Coup and Turkish Invasion of 1974. Despite the uncertainty that existed in 1974, he refused to abandon Cyprus and return to the security of his teaching position at Pratt Institute in New York. Having secured the safety of his young family, he returned to Cyprus and with his then partner Athos Dikaios headed the design teams for the creation of the very first refugee housing estates in Nicosia and Larnaka. Theo. was also a founding director of CAEC, an architect‘s collaborative formed after 1974 under the leadership of the late architect and minister Pefkios Georgiades, to support the then out of work Cypriot architects. In 1979 Theo. was appointed Chair of Graduate Architecture at Pratt Institute where he brought to the faculty significant architect-urbanists such as Lebbeus Woods, Hani Rashid, John Johansen and Michael Webb. He also originated and directed for twenty years the "Pratt in Cyprus + Greece" foreign studies program.


In the meantime his firm David & Dikaios Associates continued in Cyprus with the realization of buildings that were considered technologically advanced for that era, such as Universal Life Head Offices, The Famagusta Model Bakeries, prefabricated housing at Vassiliko in Lemesos, and a major exhibition structure at the Cyprus State Fair grounds. Theo was also active in New York City with the completion of award winning churches and interiors that have been documented as part of the late 20th century architecture legacy of New York. Theo David has also contributed to design awards programs worldwide. With his recommendation former Cypriot President Vassiliou created the Cyprus State Awards for Architecture. He is also involved with the Aga Khan Awards program and is a former chair of the NY chapter of the AIA Distinguished Architecture Awards program and has been elected to the Honors Committee of the same organization.


Theo achieved tenure and a full professorship at Pratt Institute in 1993 and in 1996 was elevated to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects for “notable contributions to the advancement of the profession of architecture”‖. In Cyprus he formed a 1988 a joint venture with KAL Engineering, TDA+KAL, which went on to design a number of significant woks in Cyprus including the Laiki Residential Training Center, the GSP Stadium and Athletic Center which received the 2001 Cyprus State Award for Architecture along with a nomination for the Mies van der Rohe Award, the Spyros Kyprianou Sports Arena in Lemesos, and the GSP Athletes Estia, along with elementary schools which the Ministry of Education has looked to as exemplary for the design of new schools. He has in association with Nicos Mavronicolas Architects also designed the recently completed Glad-stonos 22, a comprehensive urban housing development in Nicosia. In 2005 he was named Chair of the Advisory Committee for architecture of the University of Cyprus where he played an important role in the generation of the new Department of Architecture and continues as visiting professor. Theo also served as architectural advisor and guest juror for competitions related to the implementation of the U.CY. Master Plan. In 2006 he was appointed by the Cyprus Government a founding director of the Cyprus Cultural Foundation where he has been a driving force behind the architectural plans for the new Cyprus Cultural Center in Nicosia.


In New York he has used his position as a member of the board of directors of the Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce to sponsor cultural activities that promote Cyprus and negotiated an agreement between the School of Architecture of Pratt Institute and the University of Cyprus. He has been elected to the Academic Senate and serves on the Board of Trustees of Pratt Institute.


He has been characterized by his American peers as "a teacher of teachers" and has advocated for architectural excellence by encouraging and supporting the work of younger architects.


His work as an architect and educator continues to be exhibited and published internationally.

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